How different types of storms can affect your vehicle
The arrival of a storm can be a particular worry for motorists because there’s always a chance your vehicle could suffer damage.
While the weather can’t be controlled, there are certain steps that can be taken to avoid the worst - while help is also at hand should you be affected.
So, how can a storm damage your vehicle? This rundown of different types of storms, and their potential impact on your vehicle, is a useful way of assessing damage, should the worst happen.
How dangerous can storms be for motorists?
The level of threat posed by storms was demonstrated between December 2015 and January 2016, when a spate of storms led to flooding in many regions across the UK.
This period of bad weather saw many drivers left with damaged vehicles, with a total of 5,600 car insurance claims - a figure which underlines the importance of taking precautions when storms are forecast.
Rain and flooding
Heavy rain often leads to flooding, which can impact cars in affected areas. Here are some likely situations and how to prepare for them if you know a storm is coming:
- Where possible, closely monitor weather forecasts and look out for flood warnings on the news. Try to move your car to higher ground until the storm has passed if it’s parked somewhere that may be affected.
- Avoid driving through a flood. This could suck water into the engine, or cause your vehicle’s electrics to stop working - both of which could affect an insurance claim.
- If you meet a flood while driving, try to look into the depth of flood waters before deciding to try and pass through - watching other vehicles’ attempts to navigate them can be a useful guide.
Snow can lead to particularly hazardous driving conditions, and for your own safety, you should always consider whether your journey is strictly necessary if the roads are icy.
If you do head out in wintry conditions, remember these pointers:
- Take warm clothing and blankets.
- Keep your phone charged in case you encounter difficulty.
- Make sure your car is completely cleared of snow before heading out - including the roof.
- Use extra caution while driving.
During winter time, hailstorms are fairly common. Occasionally freak storms see larger hailstones, potentially causing hail damage to cars that are exposed to the elements. Often, these severe storms are unpredictable and can strike without warning, leaving little or no time to prepare, but it’s still always worth monitoring the weather forecast.
However, should your car be damaged, there’s no need to worry - hail damage is usually covered as part of a fully comprehensive policy.
Heavy winds and lightning
Heavy winds and lightning can often result in debris, such as a fallen tree or bricks from a damaged building, which could affect cars parked nearby.
In the event of this kind of storm damage, it’s important to call your insurer immediately and to take plenty of photos of the scene. This will help for quick and efficient processing of your claim.
Storms in the UK
Since November 2015, storms in the UK and Ireland have been given names to help you know when a storm has hit. Starting with Abigail, storms are named from A-Z, alternating between male and female names.
The Met Office website provides up to date information on the latest storms, helping you to be prepared for adverse weather, and the potential damage it can cause to your car.